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At the end of 2017, average public debt in the region was 57 percent of its GDP, an increase of 20 percentage points in just five years.Government borrowing to finance public investments is an essential part of any country's macroeconomic toolkit.But this progress could be jeopardized if current debt trends in some states continue. In the broadest sense, three factors account for the current debt challenges.Today, eight of the region's 15 debt-troubled LICs are commodity exporters.First, in resource-intensive countries, especially the region's eight oil exporters, fiscal consolidation plans must be enacted without delay.Third, efforts must be made to account for off-balance-sheet risks, improve debt-management capacity and enhance data coverage of debt and debt exposure.For decades, public expenditures offset low levels of private investment.Sub-Saharan Africa's public-debt burden has not yet hindered investment demand.
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